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A Creative Soul in Iqaluit, Nunavut

Well, I finally made it to Iqaluit. I spent quite a bit of time up north in Yellowknife but had never made it over to Iqaluit but always wanted to. It was for barely 24 hours but at least I got there. It had been so long since I had flown Canadian North, it felt like I was going home. Definitely much better then regular airlines, they served warm chocolate chip cookies.

Check out this crazy looking airport. When I stepped out of the airport I was surprised by how frontier it felt.

This is the main road with the only stop sign. There was a bit of a “traffic jam” at the end of the work day for Iqaluit standards.

All of the residential buildings were on the top of rocky hills overlooking the town.

This is a stone carving just outside of the Legislative Assembly.

If I had of had more time I would have loved to find another creative soul in Iqlauit, like a local carver or Kamik maker to see a home studio with them in action but all I could get to was the local Carvings Nunavut store.

They had some gorgeous pieces including some prints and Amautis.

They even had a food truck (they are taking over the culinary world after all).

It was still pretty chilly for June (I was cursing myself for not bringing mitts) but I had to take a stroll along the beach. The ice was still breaking up and it was quite breathtaking.

There was a giant chain all piled up in the sand that was a tad puzzling and looked like a cool sculpture.

There were some old boats parked up on the sand that had seen better days but I was mesmerized and desperate to climb into one.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance too and that was probably a good thing as getting arrested for breaking and entering on a work trip would not have gone over well I am sure.

This trip inspired a quick little sketch of a boat with the Nunavut flag to the left in my water colour journal.

I am hoping one day I will get back there to spend some more time exploring but in the meantime, it felt good to step foot on Northern soil again.

A Creative Soul in Truro, NS

I have been doing a bit of travelling with work lately and every time I find out where I am going I always try to get a bit of an inside scoop as to where I should go while I am there. I know there is always TripAdvisor and websites that have the most touristy places to visit but those are not the places that I am particularly interested in. Being a creative soul I like to try and find local gems and since I don’t usually have a ton of time to explore, it would be nice to get some leads. Well, I never seem to be able to find this information so I decided that it might be fun to start sharing my finds. So, these are a few things a creative soul in Truro, NS found.

Since I am a maritimer, the first thing I had to do once I stepped off the plane and got in my rental at the Halifax airport was find some fried clams. So off I went to Murphy’s Fish & Chips which is in Truro’s little downtown area. Don’t let the fact that they are in a strip mall or lack of adequate website deter you. The clams and fish were delicious and there were quite a few other things I would have loved to have tried on the menu.

Once I filled my belly I needed to find a decent cup of coffee to roam the streets with.  I didn’t have to look far as right across the street was Jimolly’s Bakery & Cafe. I wish I had of taken a photo inside as not only was the latte pretty good, the decor was great.  Rustic and comfortable, just what you want in a coffee shop. They also had some yummy looking soup and sandwiches.

Just a few steps up the road I saw Alderberry Village which had a bunch of hand crafted stuff inside which is right up my alley. I had seen a set of some gorgeous little white milk glass vases that I didn’t purchase but regretted not doing so when I was in my hotel later.  I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get there before I got on my plane to leave so I called to check their store hours and they offered to keep the shop open until I could get there. Talk about customer service!!

Then I stopped in at Pearl & Daisy Natural Soap Company. These guys had natural artisan soap and bath products that are inspired by the beauty and the history of coastal living. The girl that was working was the sweetest and made sure I checked out Beck & Boosh which was a block over. I picked up the most adorable gem looking soaps for the girls while I was there.

So, off I went to Beck & Boosh (but not before stopping at a fabric shop on the way, but unfortunately I can’t remember the name of it).

They had the cutest stuff and awesome displays. This was one they did for their vintage collection. All three of the owners were there and I stayed and chatted forever as it was a bit of a mutual admiration society with us complimenting each others outfits and jewelry. I, of course, had to buy something and took their business card so I could later order stuff for my bridesmaid’s gifts and my wedding jewellry.

My trip to Nova Scotia even inspired this little piece in my art journal of a lighthouse and the provincial flower which is the Mayflower of course.

I was not expecting much in Truro but was pleasantly surprised at how charming it was.

House Tour – Part 1

I have been getting plenty of requests for a house tour of our new place from family and friends so I thought I would take the opportunity over the holidays to get some pictures taken, finally!  The house is almost a 100 years old and was built in 1920.  There was an addition built in 2008 but they did a great job keeping within the aesthetic of the original farm house.  We have five acres of land, a barn which will soon house some chickens and my studio which hasn’t been winterized yet.  It was an incredible amount of work and perseverance to get this place but is was all worth it. In all of my 41 years and the many, many places I have lived, it is the first place that has truly felt like home from day one.

So, grab yourself a hot drink and come take a tour of some of our new place, before I take all of the Christmas decorations down.

Here is one side of the entrance. The other side was too messy to take a photo of, haha.

House Tour - Entrance

Which looks into our dining room. Those french doors go out to our basement and back yard.

House Tour - Dining

You can just barely see the antique arrows in with the branches that I picked up in Vermont (in Mary’s shop of course).

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The dining room is open to the living room on the right.  We have tons of big windows in the house which is great.  Although there isn’t much room for art work.

House Tour - Livingroom

Our tree which we put up and decorated while listening to Boney M. Christmas and eating Pot of Gold chocolates.  We had to, it’s a tradition. The girls also take turns putting the star on top of the tree.

House Tour - Tree

The other part of the living room which looks out onto the mountain.  One of the best views in the house and a great place to read a book.

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A close-up of my wee deer.

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The one thing we don’t have in this house is a fireplace :( My only complaint.  So, we consequently have no easy place to hang stockings. Why not use the bookshelves?

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Through another set of french doors is the master bedroom. The doors to the left there go out onto a little patio that is all our own.

House Tour - Master

If you go back to the entrance and hang a left, there is one of the bathrooms in the house. I thought I would show you this one since it is the original bathroom and has the most character with the wood walls and cabinetry.

House Tour - Bathroom

Next to it is our oldest girls bedroom.

House Tour - Bedroom

Then we move on to the kitchen.

House Tour - Kitchen

The kitchen is quite long and the lighting isn’t great but you can sort of see our coffee station to the left.

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At the end is our little coffee drinking nook.

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I had it all set up as a hot chocolate station over the holidays.

House Tour - Kitchen4

It has been so much fun finding places for all of my vintage pieces.  Next time I will show you the younger girl’s space and a bit of the outside (if it can just warm up a bit).

Happy New Year everyone!!  Hope you have had a relaxing holiday surrounded by love!

Isabelle Arsenault Inspiration (Part Deux)

Boy this last week felt like it has lasted forever!!  I just wanted to share a couple more pages inspired by Isabelle Arsenault‘s illustrations.  This time they are from the book Virginia Wolf which is loosely based on the relationship between author Virginia Wolf and her sister, painter Vanessa Bell.  It is pretty cute.

Isabelle Arsenault

Couldn’t decide whether she was falling or lying in the grass but she inspired my blue gingham girl looking up at the sky.

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This one inspired a couple pieces…

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My fox is hanging out in the jungle.

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This little Easter bunny looking guy that was up in the corner of the page…

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Inspired me to trace this rabbit from my Enchanted Forest colouring book.

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Adult colouring books have exploded lately and I am oh so glad as colouring was one of my favourite things to do as a kid and it is a great meditative practice for all.  Such a simple thing but so gratifying.  A few more I have collected that I love:

The Art of Nature

Splendid Cities

The Big Book of Mandelas

and another Mandela one.

I can’t wait to share them with the ladies at the next retreat.  There are a few more I have my eye on:

The Hipster Coloring Book

The Secret Garden

The Tattoo Colouring Book

and the list goes on, but I won’t bore you with them.  There is a Paris one and so many different themed ones that everyone is bound to find something they like.  If I have just introduced you to them, you are welcome!!  Everyone else, please share your favourites, I have a birthday coming up, haha.

Monday Journal – Where to get inspiration?

Hi there, I frequently get asked where to get inspiration from and that is kind of hard to answer as there are so many places!!  Sometimes when ideas aren’t flowing, looking to other artists that you admire is a good place to start.

I am huge fan of Canadian illustrator Isabelle Arsenault.  I have been known to buy some of her children’s books and keep them for myself so none of the kids get their grubby hands on them, haha.  Her style is very different from mine in that she has a lot of just pencil work in her illustrations but there is just something that speaks to me with her stuff.  For a few of my 40 pages in 40 days I opened one of her books Jane, the Fox & Me.

This black and white drawing…

Where to get inspiration

Inspired this.  Since this is just for me, in my journal, it doesn’t matter how similar it is as I have no intention of selling it.

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I loved all of the foxes that appear in this and some of her other books.

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So put one into this piece.

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Here is a close-up of the quote I used.

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Just a quick share, stay tuned for more inspiration from Isabelle’s books.

Handing over the Reins

I have had to make some pretty big decisions in the last couple of weeks.  I have decided to quit something I have worked so hard for and put my blood sweat and tears into for over a year and a half.  Anyone who is an entrepreneur knows the sacrifice you (and your family) have to make when opening and running a business.

 I am always striving to do better and be better.  It is a part of how I am wired and who I am.  I try to give everything a 100% effort but in the last little while I have realized that I have spread myself too thin between work, running the business and trying to keep the family healthy and happy.  It has made it impossible to do any of those things well and I have actually regressed instead of thriving (not to mention I feel like I am taking my family down with me, oh the guilt of motherhood, haha).  My health and family have suffered and it is time for me to refocus on what is important because without both of those things, I have nothing.  So, at the end of this month I will be handing over the reins of the boutique to a wonderful and super creative artisan, Josiane Berube.  Some of you may know her as Romeo’s Factory.  She will re-christian the store as Romeo & Stella and will hopefully open June 6th, 2015.  Some of the tried and true artisans will remain and she will also be bringing some fresh stuff in so make sure to stop by and support your community by shopping local.

This process has obviously been heartbreaking for me as opening the store has been like having another child but my landlord, who is a fellow entrepreneur, came in to see me yesterday to congratulate me on stepping away from the store.  I was a little confused and taken aback at first but he said, any good entrepreneur knows when to quit and will likely quit many times in their life before finding the exact fit.  He said I should be proud of what I had accomplished and created.  It got me to thinking about why I had started this all in the first place.  My biggest thing in opening the boutique was to create a community of like minded individuals and provide artisans with support and a platform to share their heart felt wares with people.  I am proud to say that I feel like I have accomplished that as many of my artisans and customers have become friends and made connections through the shop and now Josiane will just continue to build upon that.

grateful

Now, I can get back to the business of doing art and being grateful for what I have for a little while.  I know I will always be a busy person but I am hoping things will be more manageable as my girls need their mom and my man needs his spouse back.  I will continue to create, teach, run retreats (Beyoutiful Souls) and craft fairs (The Savoir Faire).  I am hoping to still continue to be a presence in the store by selling some of my goods and teaching.

Keep your eyes peeled as I will be having a retreat in Vermont in September and another in the Thousand Islands in the Fall.  I am also hoping to set up a studio space at home so I can do what I love near the people that I love.

Thank you to all of my loyal customers, artisans, supporters and family for helping make this dream a reality!!!

Eric Nadeau Exposition – Montcalm Gallery

Chris and I happened to be at Gatineau City Hall the other day which turned out to be surprisingly nice inside.  Lots of windows in a cathedral, six story high, inside courtyard type of thing.  If that makes any sense, haha.  While we were there we came across the Montcalm Gallery.  I had heard of it but never knew where it was and I, of course, had to go in.  We were quite pleased we did because we were introduced to the Eric Nadeau Exposition – Machine Memories and Work Stories.

“In work, in human labour, in our daily tasks, narratives are born, intersect, and are woven into the fabric of our collective memory.   The artist’s creations are variations on a single theme: the work stories that reveal and unite us.”

Here he made an automatic weapon out of an old typewriter and if you notice the typewriter on the right the keys were replaced with bullets.

Eric Nadeau Exposition

There were quite a few of these characters in the exhibit made with old Singer Sewing machines, all with their own personality.  There was quite a contrast between the sweetness of these two and some of the weapons he had created.

Eric Nadeau Exposition2

This piece was a deconstructed umbrella.  I wish I had of written down the names of all the pieces.

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More guns made from typewriters.  (Sorry about the photo quality, since it was an impromptu visit I only had my phone)

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Made from the top of an old wooden spool.  Would love to have this piece in my home.

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These little guys were made from steel toe boots.

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She was my favourite.  Not sure if it is because it was my favourite colour or if it is because I have the identical one (still in sewing machine form) that I inherited from my grandmother.

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If you are in the area, (Hull, near the Museum of Civilization) it is definitely worth a quick stop in.  I will also be keeping my eyes peeled for their next exhibit.

Outdoor Halloween Decor

I got into the car yesterday and my youngest, Amelia said to me “Maman, do you know why everybody is decorating their houses?” and I was about to answer when daddy gave me the look like – don’t do it.  The look that tells me she will have a huge meltdown if I actually respond with the answer because she is the one who wants to tell me even though she asked in question form, haha.  I, of course responded with the required “why?”.  Which she then responded quite loudly “HALLOWEEN IS COMING!!”.

This huge burst of enthusiasm made me realize that I had been so busy decorating the store for the holiday that I had completely forgotten about the home front.  I am usually super excited about decorating and preparing for every holiday and I have now realized that in just two short weeks it will be trick or treat time and my girls have no costumes and I have no plans for decor.  What a horrible mother I am, haha.  So, tonight we begin the Halloween plans and I thought I would share my top 10 Outdoor Halloween Decor inspiration.

I had a hard time finding the original sources for the first few but I am totally loving the vintagey feel of this one.

Outdoor Halloween Decor1

This one may be a little dark for the kids but I thought it was cool (maybe when Amelia is older).

Outdoor Halloween Decor2

Using pumpkins as canvases is such a great idea.

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This is also a little creepy but brilliant.

Outdoor Halloween Decor4

I like the natural look of this one which I found here.

Outdoor Halloween Decor5

There were actually a couple I liked in this post, but this was my favourite.  Polka dots – my fav!

Outdoor Halloween Decor6

I love this little cheap and cheerful outdoor decor idea found here.

Outdoor Halloween Decor7

This cute entrance features a trapped witch that I saw here but I don’t think it is the original source.  Now to find those tights.

Outdoor Halloween Decor8

I found this idea of incorporating gourds in a whole new way on the Better Homes & Gardens website.

Outdoor Halloween Decor9

And last but not least, one from the Martha Stewart website where there is even a tutorial on making the hanging bats.

Outdoor Halloween Decor10

There is also a section with free Halloween clip-art if you are looking for some inspiration.

I shall keep you posted on our projects and give you the final unveil of our porch shortly.  Wish me luck!!!

Monday Journal – Altered Photos

 For this week’s Monday Journal I did some altered photos as I was inspired by the theme for our upcoming Etsy Craft Party on June 6th.  I pulled out my journal that I had made out of a book to a spot that already had some yellow, blue and pink paint on it from previous projects.  Instant colour scheme.  I added some stars with florescent pink, aren’t they awesome?

Altered Photos

I didn’t take any in between photos unfortunately but this is mostly how is turned out.  It says “Be You, Be Happy, Be Free”

Altered Photos2

I used one of my favourite photos of the girls and I on vacation in Quebec city for both techniques.  It took many tries to get us all off of the “jumpolene” (which is what Amelia calls it) at the same time to take that picture.

For the first technique I used paint pens and my favourite Faber Castell Pitt Pens.  Milah is flying away with her ankle wings and Ava sprouted horns.  Totally normal right?  It should be noted that all of the pens work better on photographs printed onto regular paper.

Altered Photos3

Here is the same photo but I embroidered it instead.  So many different stitches you can do with both but this technique worked best with actual photographs.  I got bear ears and Amelia some pink socks.  I then just stuck the photos in with good old washi tape.  I really enjoyed this project and will definately be doing some more.

Altered Photos4

 Hopefully you will come out to enjoy some photo fun with us on the 6th.  I am quite looking forward to it.

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Texture Hunting

 I hope everyone had a great, long, Easter weekend.  I got two days off in a row, for the first time in a while and got to get out of Dodge and visit some family.  It was great.  One of the things we always like to do when the family gets together is all go for a walk.  This time we got to tour an old family farm property that I was a little more than excited to visit.  The property has an old abandoned home and huge old barn on it.  I had my camera ready as I wanted to do some texture hunting through all of the old wood and machinery.

Here is the old house that once upon a time housed two families and has sat empty for almost 50 years.

Texture Hunting

  The little addition.

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The front door.  I sooooo wanted to go in and have a look around.  Unfortunately the owner (Uncle Jim) was sick in bed and the place is always locked up.

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Check out the detail on the hinges.  They just don’t make things like they used to.

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The entire place was put together with these handmade nails, incredible.

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Old latch on the barn (of which I forgot to take a shot of the entire thing, ugh!!).

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Look at the amazing texture and colour on this door.

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Milah inside the barn.

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More metal work.

Texture Hunting9

The girls climbed up into the loft.  Love the colour of the old roof.

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This metal piece looked older then the rest.

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The old truck in the barn.

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You can see a bit of the old stone foundation of the barn here behind Miss Millie blowing her Easter bubbles.

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Such a fun afternoon and I just had to share some of the pics with you.  Thinking it would be an amazing spot for a photo shoot, hrm…  Can’t wait to go back!!